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NCJ Number
Date Published
January 1993
12 pages
This article describes nationwide systems that have collected data useful for drug-use prevalence estimation, discusses issues pertinent to the utility of data systems for drug-use prevalence estimation, and recommends improvements in data collection.
Several nationwide data systems have been specifically designed to assemble data on prevalence of drug use. These include the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, the Drug Abuse Warning Network, Drug Use Forecasting, Client- Oriented Data Acquisition Process, and System to Retrieve Drug Evidence. Additional information is available from other systems that are oriented toward different purposes but also collect drug-related data. These include the High School Senior Survey, National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, National Hospital Discharge Survey, National Vital Statistics System, and Uniform Crime Reports. National prevalence estimation efforts are variously based on one or more of these prominent data sources. This article discusses the utility of these data in terms of sampling and coverage, nature and validity of measures, methods of enumeration, and consistency of data collection over time and across systems. To determine the nature of drug use at the local level, local data should be examined. Regardless of their geographic scope, all data systems should improve sampling and coverage of high-risk groups, and results should be assessed by occasional small-scale validity studies. Comparability among data systems using comparable measures is needed to permit integration of information that leads to more comprehensive and accurate estimates of the prevalence of drug use. 1 table, 2 notes, and 28 references

Date Published: January 1, 1993